What It’s Like to Be Silent and Meditate for One Week

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Have you ever wondered what a silent, weeklong meditation retreat is like? Unite Fitness president Gavin McKay just came back from one, and he’s sharing a peek of what it’s like to be silent, introspective and, well, Zen for a week straight. Read on for his insights.

A few short weeks before Christmas I was deciding what I would do for the holiday period. I had a few ideas, but most required a lot of money, pushing in on other people’s plans or the stress of throwing something together when there really wasn’t anything obvious or very appealing. The period between Christmas and New Years has always been a dead time with poor weather when I preferred to be doing something somewhere else, removed from daily routines. For this reason, Winter is the natural time for meditation retreats and my Shambhala meditation community offers 1, 2, 3 or 4 week versions. Yes some people go on retreat for a month at a time. I realized this year was my perfect opportunity to go so I drove off by myself to Sky Lake Lodge in Huson Valley, NY to meditate mostly in silence without technology for a week with 20 people I didn’t know.

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Study: Meditation Eases Anxiety, Depression and Pain

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If you’d written off the practice of mindfulness as hippy-dippy nonsense, it might be time to reconsider. According to NPR, a new meta-analysis of studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that the practice of meditation can be seriously beneficial in managing common physical and mental issues. Throughout the meta-analysis, 47 studies involving meditation as a form of treatment were analyzed, and the findings are pretty interesting: While the practice of mindfulness, or meditation, doesn’t seem to affect areas of substance abuse, sleep or weight, it does have a positive effect on problems like anxiety, depression and pain. Read more »